Apr 30, 2014, 5:32 PM EDT
LONDON — Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea team crashed out of the UEFA Champions League at the semifinal stage on Wednesday.
However the Special One isn’t upset, frustrated or bitter about losing 3-1 to Atletico Madrid. Far from it.
After tasting defeat for their sixth time in eight UCL semifinals, Mourinho knows more than most how falling at the hurdle before the showpiece final feels. Forever protecting his players, the Portuguese coach failed to blame individuals when asked about why his side failed to show up at Stamford Bridge.
“I can’t be critical of a group of players who are trying everything. We have problems with injuries, suspensions and players who can’t play in the Champions League,” Mourinho said. “It’s disappointing to lose but I am proud of them. I prefer to say we did everything that was possible for us and if we scored to go 2-1 up we would have been on top of the game.”
Suspensions and injuries definitely cost the Blues dear against a fully-fit, fired up and clinical Atletico. They lacked bite and drive in midfield as Nemanja Matic was ineligible, while Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel were both suspended after the first leg. That hurt Chelsea as David Luiz was wasteful in possession and smashed plenty of effort off target, Ramires was a bystander for most of the match and Eden Hazard failed to influence the game from the left wing.
Nobody can accuse this Chelsea side of a lack of effort but on Wednesday night they just weren’t quite good enough against the La Liga leaders.
Mourinho promised his team would come back stronger next season as he aims to add new players and help his young side to flourish on all fronts.
“Next season will be better than this season – that’s our objective – the objective of everybody.” Mourinho said. “Our young players will be better, hopefully we will have a couple of players to improve our team and we will try to do better next season.”
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